So let’s see what our staff (and our readers) think about the Week 6 game against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
Tom Childs (@tomchilds56)
Sorry Chiefs fans, I’m going to be that guy. I really want to pick the Chiefs, but I just can’t. Yes, the Chiefs will have a resurgence on offense, and yes, the Chiefs run defense may improve, but at the end of the day, I just don’t think this injury-plagued Chiefs team can keep up with a Texans offense that can be as good as any unit out there. I feel dirty. Texans 34, Chiefs 27
John Dixon (@Arrowheadphones)
The Texans are a good football team — just not quite as good as the Chiefs. Yes, the Chiefs are banged up. Yes, the Chiefs run defense is bad. Yes, the Texans have been pretty good running the ball. But since they have Deshaun Watson — along with talented wide receivers — I don’t think the Texans will feel the need to follow the Colts’ blueprint; I think they’ll bet on Watson over a less-than-100% Mahomes. But I wouldn’t make that bet. Chiefs 40, Texans 36
Ethan Douglas (@ChiefsAnalytics)
Time of possession doesn’t matter. Run defense doesn’t matter. What matters is the Chiefs have a man named Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and Andy Reid as head coach. The Texans are certainly a formidable opponent with a high-powered passing offense, but I’d give Mahomes and company the edge in a shootout any week. Look for Reid to scheme up efficient, short passes to mask the potential limitations of Mahomes’ ankle and the injuries to the Chiefs’ offensive line. Chiefs 30, Texans 24
Ron Kopp Jr. (@Ron_Kopp)
Injuries suck. The Chiefs are the least healthy they’ve been in the Pat Mahomes era — and it’s showing in their recent performances. Things won’t be getting any easier in Week 6. The Houston Texans are fresh off a 53-point performance and could be the best offense the Chiefs defense has faced this year. It will be a significant challenge for the secondary to contain DeAndre Hopkins and Will Fuller. The good news is that the Texans offensive line has not been able to protect Deshaun Watson consistently; the bad news is that the Chiefs will be without Chris Jones. Mahomes and the offense will still be missing Eric Fisher a lot with J.J. Watt coming to town. Hopefully, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are back to give the offense more weapons against a vulnerable pass defense — the Texans have given up the eighth-most passing yards in the league. This is going to be a shootout, and the Chiefs can’t lose two home games in a row... right? Chiefs 38, Texans 35
Matt Lane (@ChiefinCarolina)
The Chiefs are coming off their first loss of the year and now play host to arguably the second-best young quarterback in the NFL in Deshaun Watson and his Houston Texans. The Chiefs had plenty of issues pop up in the loss against the Indianapolis Colts but none more important than the injury to Patrick Mahomes. When the Chiefs have the ball, they will have to figure out how to improve their pass protection tenfold against an even better defensive line than last week to allow Mahomes time to make plays. Hopefully, Byron Pringle can continue to get snaps as he provides an option to beat man coverage and maybe Tyreek Hill can return this week, elevating the wide receiver group. When the Texans have the ball, it will be full survival mode by the Chiefs whose cornerbacks will be challenged more than they have this entire year. The Texans will find success running the ball, but like the Chiefs, they prefer to air it out and the Chiefs run defense may not be the talk of the town again. This game is primed to be a shootout and with Andy Reid seemingly caught off guard the last couple weeks, I expect a full Reid special on offense giving the Chiefs the edge. Chiefs 38, Texans 36 (don’t ask me how)
Robert Rimpson (@RRimpsanity)
This will be the game that gets everyone that hopped on the Chiefs bandwagon last season and the beginning of this season to hop right back off. I just can’t see the Chiefs overcoming all the issues they have in front of them. The Chiefs had two really good things going for them on defense in my opinion: the defensive line (mainly Chris Jones) and Tyrann Mathieu. One of those things is now gone, leaving only the Honey Badger and a defense that can’t stop the run or the pass. The injuries to the offensive line and receiving corps are starting to catch up to the Chiefs, and Patrick Mahomes’ ankle is paying the price. Top that off with a Houston team that is fresh off of scoring 50-plus points, and I see just too many odds to overcome. Maybe Tyreek Hill comes back and fixes everything, but I doubt it. Texans 33, Chiefs 24
Matt Stagner (@stagdsp)
It’s possible the Chiefs are in real trouble this week. The offense has been fairly pedestrian for two games now and the defense can’t stop the run. Oh, and about half the roster is hurt. The Texans are probably the most dangerous opponent on the schedule thus far. They aren’t a good matchup for the Chiefs on paper in many ways. Watt and Watson are a problem. Hopkins and Fuller are, too. But, the Chiefs should still win this game. They have the best quarterback-and-head coach advantage in the league, and they are ticked off after a tough loss to the Colts. The defense is good in the red zone and can get turnovers. I predict a shootout, but Mahomes won’t let this team drop two games in a row. Chiefs 45, Texans 42
Craig Stout (@barleyhop)
The Houston Texans are a worse matchup for the Chiefs than the Indianapolis Colts were. They have two good vertical threats, a dynamic quarterback that isn’t afraid to throw into tight coverage and a commitment to the running game. They should be able to beat up on a Chiefs defense that is shorthanded on the defensive line. Conversely, the Texans could find success through their edge rush with Whitney Mercilus and JJ Watt. But Patrick Mahomes isn’t losing two in a row in Arrowhead. Tyreek Hill goes and the Chiefs offense clicks in a shootout. Chiefs 41, Texans 35
Kent Swanson (@kent_swanson)
A repeat of the performance on Sunday Night Football will result in an embarrassing drubbing at home against Houston. Pass protection is critical to the success of this team this week. Patrick Mahomes’ lack of mobility to escape pressure was the difference last week. Giving him a chance to stay upright will allow him to make plays from the pocket. His creativity may not be the same, but if it can be better than post-Cam Erving stepping on his foot, he should be able to provide a spark at times.
I think this team has pride. I think they’ll have a good week of practice and come prepared for a huge game against the Texans. The injuries are mounting, but I see this team winning a close game. Chiefs 34, Texans 31
Pete Sweeney (@pgsween)
The Chiefs have what we sometimes make fun of the New England Patriots for this Sunday: a bet-against-us game. The offense was out of sync last game and the run defense continues to be bad. I think one of those items — the former — gets fixed against the Texans with the return of wide receiver Tyreek Hill to the lineup. The run defense may be even worse without Chris Jones, but the Chiefs find a way to win despite that in shootout fashion, as Patrick Mahomes reminds everybody why he is the reigning MVP of the NFL. Chiefs 42, Texans 39
Joel Thorman (@JoelThorman)
The Chiefs are a great offense, and the last 20-plus games have proven that. Last week’s game against the Colts isn’t who they are but the Texans do present similar problems as the Colts. JJ Watt will get a lot of attention as the Texans try to push Mahomes around, and the Houston offense will make this a fun matchup, but the Chiefs offense is too much. Chiefs 38, Texans 34
Who wins the Chiefs-Texans game?
This poll is closed
Chiefs in a blowout
Chiefs in a close game
Texans in a close game
Texans in a blowout
Ties in the standings are broken with prediction points error — how much each prediction misses the actual point spread and the number of points scored by each team.
Since every member of the staff picked the Chiefs to beat the Colts last week, you would expect the composite prediction to be way off the mark — and it was. Together we picked the Chiefs to win 38.6 to 23.0. By itself, the point spread gave the staff almost 22 points of error. After our exuberant estimates of the scoring were added in, it totaled more than 51 points of error, which was our worst set or predictions to date. Our readers didn’t do much better. 96% thought the Chiefs would win. Almost two in three (63%) thought it would be a blowout victory.
While no one on the staff picked the game correctly, Robert Rimpson was the closest. He had 28 points of error in his 27-20 prediction. Ron Kopp Jr. and Joel Thorman each missed by 46 points with their 34-17 and 36-27 guesses. Everybody else was way off the mark. Robert moved into fourth place in the standings — and at the top, the race between Matt Lane, John Dixon and Joel grew very tight.
New staff member Ethan Douglas made his first prediction for the Colts game. Since he is a late entrant to the race, we asked him if he had picked the Chiefs in all four games to start the season. He said he did. We believed him.